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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-20423: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 6 December 2018

To ask the Scottish Government who is responsible for the content of electronic message boards over motorways.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 13 December 2018

Transport Scotland is responsible for the electronic gantries and variable message signs (VMS) that provide a range of information to drivers on Scotland’s motorways. Day-to-day operation of these gantries and VMS is the responsibility of the Traffic Scotland service which operates the trunk road Intelligent Transport System on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre at South Queensferry, Traffic Scotland develops and displays the content of the VMS which play a vital role in promoting the safe and efficient operation of the road network by providing road users with information on current incidents and future events that may affect their journey, alongside safety and other relevant messages to allow them to make informed judgements on diversion, or alternative routes for travel. These messages are created from information gathered from stakeholders including Police Scotland, trunk road operating companies, bridge managers, the Met Office, and local authorities.

When the VMS are not being used to display active incident information, the signs can be used to present background messages. These background messages have been developed in consultation with a number of key stakeholders and are linked to known problems which affect the safe and efficient operation of the trunk road network. For example, safety messages are derived from accident statistics and our strategic road safety plan and messages encouraging the use of public transport are targeted at our most congested corridors.